The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Commissioners delay decision on fair event insurance requirement


A resolution to require supplemental insurance coverage for certain events at the Wahkiakum County Fairgrounds drew concern Tuesday.

The resolution would change the county code to require a $2 million proof of insurance for events such as bull riding, demolition derby, stunt driving, boxing or fighting, or competitive racing of animals or vehicles.

Members of the Wahkiakum Fair Foundation and other persons supporting fair activities expressed concern the policy would curtail many animal related activities.

Commissioners agreed to delay action on the resolution until they can host a meeting with the county auditor, prosecuting attorney and fair representatives to discuss the issue further.

Skamokawa resident Kay Walters questioned why county officials hadn't notified the fair board of the resolution before placing it on the agenda.

The cost of obtaining a $2 million insurance policy will likely be too expensive for sponsors of certain events such as the car show, proposed bull riding exhibition, and the 4-H club riding contests during the fair and the other riding events held during the spring to raise funds for the fair, she commented.

Neil Beerbower, fair board president, said he had learned from the organizer of the bull riding exhibition that that organization covers its liability issues.

"It's all professional," he said of the bull riding event. "No local people will ride. He'll bring in his own chutes and pens and everything"

Acting on a recommendation from state officials, the county auditor's office had generated the policy, said Commissioner Mike Backman.

"It's protection for the county," he said. "What we're doing is putting in a stop gap. It's just about having a process. It's about protecting the county and everybody having a good time."

Backman and Commissioner Dan Cothren both doubted the policy would have much impact on fair events.

"There's some adjustments that can be made," Cothren said. "What I get out of this is if we have something, we can go to the insurance company and see what we have to do. With what I've read into this, we can adjust as we go."

Backman and Cothren agreed they wanted to hear from Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow before acting on the resolution, and they moved on to other business.


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